Working with politics ‘students as partners’ to engender student community: Opportunities and challenges

Smith, Donna (2023). Working with politics ‘students as partners’ to engender student community: Opportunities and challenges. Politics (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/02633957231173372

Abstract

Research suggests that creating communities of learning (academic and social) leads to a better Higher Education (HE) experience for students, which, in turn, makes it more likely that they will persist in their studies. The concept of ‘student community’ in HE has become more prominent of late, partly due to the UK Government’s emphasis on retention. One way in which student community can be engendered is by working with ‘students as partners’ in their learning: students work with academics and each other to create and extend their learning, which, in turn, has a positive impact on student community and retention. This article discusses the opportunities and challenges of working with ‘students as partners’ within a Politics HE disciplinary context. In particular, it summarises an Open University Politics student engagement project, part of the University’s partnership with UK Parliament. In doing so, the article has implications for Politics HE practice generally, and online Politics HE practice in particular, and makes recommendations for working with Politics ‘students as partners’ within the current UK HE policy environment.

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